A press briefing was held recently on the occasion of the fourth edition of Green Med Forum 2011 to be held for the first time in Tunisia from September 28 to 30.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Mokhtar Jallali, Minister of Agriculture and Environment emphasized, in an interview with AfricanManager, the need to take advantage of the context of the post revolution to open up onto new markets and boost the agricultural sector in particular, to enhance food security.
How does the agricultural sector behave eight months after the outbreak of the revolution?
We have a good production year, mainly due to weather conditions but also the precautions we have taken to maintain production, a very interesting rainy season and performing agricultural season.
In eight months, the Tunisian agricultural sector recorded performances, given the efforts of support made. We can say we have done something special during this period. We will proceed with structural reforms that are underway and we hope that some sectors will enhance reforms during this transitional period.
What about figures?
According to figures, investments of around 250 million dinars have been made by the private sector until the end of this year, i.e. up 3.6% compared to the same period in the previous year, generating 3,088 jobs, including 136 for university graduates.
In the land sector, 86 loans were granted with a budget of 5.7 million dinars against 84 credits worth 5.2 million dinars approved last year.
Investments of young promoters increased from 29 million dinars in 2010 to 31 million dinars in the first 8 months of 2011.
Investments made by new promoters have reached 17 million dinars against 9 million dinars in the first 8 months 2010
If good weather continues, this will help create new employment and export opportunities on the one hand, and reduce imports, on the other.
Can you tell us about the large-scale crops season and preparations for the 2011/2012 harvest?
There are concerns even in normal times. In any case, I think the usual precautions are taken. We are preparing in advance for the large-scale crops season. At this level, we can say that there are no special conditions.
In terms of stability, I think that the Tunisians are sufficiently aware that everything goes properly, especially since the agricultural sector is expected to achieve economic growth and ensure food security at acceptable costs.
What are you prospects for agricultural trade between Tunisia and Libya in this new context, especially with the events in Libya?
I think that they are good prospects. Libya is the gateway to the African market as Tunisia is the gateway to the European market. Hence, cooperation between the two countries can only be beneficial for both sides.